10 VoIP features that small businesses love
Most VoIP solutions include features that give small business a big business advantage. Yet, many aren’t aware of these powerful functionalities. Check out this list to ensure you get the most bang for your buck
It’s 2016, and even small businesses are converting to VoIP telephony systems. Why? Call quality these days is the same or even better as traditional telephony while calling rates over the internet are so much cheaper. Other small but growing businesses love the flexibility and risk-free scalability of VoIP. And yet, many overlook some of the most valuable functionalities that come with a modern VoIP solution. Most of them know of features such as voicemail, call waiting, toll free numbers, call forwarding, and remote operation, but there are a few more that we think you really ought to explore.
1: Door entry buzzer integration
This is a feature which integrates a conventional door phone with your VoIP system. It allows the user to engage in a two-way call with visitors, from their desktop phone, and then unlock the door from the phone…think of is as an easy-to-use, extra security feature. Also highly valuable for offices who don’t use a receptionist.
2: Find me/Follow me
This features unleashes the power of the mobile workforce. Find me/follow lets you set up a list of numbers to call successively. For example, your office desktop might be set to ring three times, before the call is routed to your mobile. If you don’t pick up on your mobile after the third ring, it might then be routed to your voicemail. This increases the likelihood the caller will reach you. It also reduces hassle, as you don’t need to change the call forwarding setting each time you move from one location to another.
3: Voicemail to email
When someone leave a message for you, this feature sends the audio file directly to your email. This allows you quicker listening access to the message, from anywhere, without physically having to be by your desktop phone.
4: ‘On hold’ Music
If you must put your callers on hold, make sure to make the waiting as useful or pleasant as possible. You choose what callers listen to, so simply create some pleasant or unique music playlists, or other informative recordings or messages.
5: Bandwidth utilization and call detail reporting
Understanding how to best invest a company’s time and energy requires data. Since VoIP is based on digital voice data, it can be managed, analyzed and used for decision-making like another other digital data. In a hosted VoIP system you can track and report on all your calling history and bandwidth data along many critical parameters, such as call duration, originator, destination, calling costs, dropped/abandoned calls, queuing details etc…
6: Call screening
This one is a simple feature that is often ignored or forgotten. It allows you to look at someone’s caller ID and decide how to deal with it. Family member calling? Redirect to your cell phone. Time-wasting telesales rep calling? Disconnect and ignore. Premium customer? Greet them by name and in a cheerful tone.
7: Call coaching features
In many businesses, calling skills for sales or customer service agents are critical to job performance. Instead of teaching or advising your calling staff before or after a call, you, the manager or coach can listen in and give them support and advice while they are on a call. Call monitoring allows you to simply listen in on a live-call. Call whispering lets you give advice to the agent without the customer hearing you voice. Call barging allows you to take over a call or intervene, for example when to avoid a poor call to escalate, or simply to pass on advice to the customer quickly without the agent having to find the information and call the customer back. Call barging is also useful when a phone rings elsewhere and you want to pick up the call without leaving your desk.
8: Auto attendant / Interactive voice response (IVR)
An auto attendant, sometimes also call Interactive voice response (IVR), is one of those features that make your small business look much bigger and more professional. It allows callers to interact with a menu to choose an appropriate extension (“for sales, press 1. For accounting, press 2. Or if you know the extension number, type it in now…”) Your business will suddenly seem more professional and impressive. It's like having an virtual receptionist!
While some people are aware of the conferencing features that come with modern VoIP systems, many small businesses still have not embraced the full potential these features offer. In many cases advanced features really make the conferencing experience much more effective, and less messy or confusing. Have a play with features such as ‘hand-raises’, muting individuals, or managing invitations, in order to see how they can improve the conferencing call.
10: DND / Do not disturb
This feature really helps you with what its name says: allowing you to get on with work undisturbed. Switch it on, and all incoming calls are stopped from reaching you until you switch it back off. This comes in handy during meetings, lunches, conferences or very busy spells. This becomes especially useful during conferences, lunches, and meetings. Make sure you don’t just ignorer callers but direct them to another number or person, or to voicemail, so you can follow up later.